Gary Kubiak announced his retirement on Monday, stepping down as head coach of the Broncos. Though he was only at the helm for two seasons, he made quite the mark.

Kubiak became the fourth head coach to win a Super Bowl in his first season with the team; and also became the third coach in NFL history to win a Super Bowl for a team he once played for. The 24 victories he led the Broncos to mark the most by any coach in just two seasons.

As a quarterback, Kubiak went 3-2 as a starter in Denver, throwing for 1,920 yards, with 14 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. A student of the game, he seemed to have the makings of a coach during his time as a player, according to former Broncos head coach Dan Reeves.

“Gary was always prepared, and had a lot to do and say on the sideline,” Reeves told Gil Whiteley and Whiskey Kate of Mile High Sports Radio. “I listened to him an awful lot when I was there, and that’s when I knew he’d be a great football coach.”

Kubiak was instrumental in helping John Elway become the great quarterback that he was, helping him prepare for every game and pushing Elway to be at his best. It really shows the selflessness Kubiak had as a player, and carried over to his time as a coach. What set Kubiak apart? His dedication to his craft and willingness to put in work.

“Gary made himself a great quarterback because he really worked at it,” said Reeves. “Understanding and learning what he was supposed to do, what your system was set up to do, so he had a really good football mind.”

Broncos players are emotional about Kubiak’s departure, and for good reason. Kubiak was a great leader for the Broncos, as a player and a head coach. All the players, especially Trevor Siemian, owe him a great debt of gratitude for what he was able to teach them over the past two seasons.

Though it didn’t matter in the standings for Denver, their game against the Oakland Raiders took on new meaning, as the Broncos rode out with a 24-6 victory. They all wanted to win the game for Kubiak, allowing him to ride off into the sunset after a short, but impactful tenure as their head coach.

Listen to the full interview with Dan Reeves, including his thoughts on the Broncos quarterback situation, in the podcast below…

Catch Gil Whiteley every weekday from 11a-12p on Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7 or stream live any time for the best local coverage of Colorado sports from Denver’s biggest sports talk lineup.

Photo courtesy of the Denver Broncos, the original image can be found here.